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The Energy Task Force, officially the National Energy Policy Development Group, was a task force created by then-president George W. Bush during his second week in office. Vice President Dick Cheney was named chairman. This group was intended to “develop a national energy policy designed to help the private sector, and, as necessary and appropriate, State and local governments, promote dependable, affordable, and environmentally sound production and distribution of energy for the future."

The Bush Transition Energy Advisory Team[1], shaped the administration’s supply-side energy policy administration and was a precursor to the Energy Task Force.[2]

On May 16, 2001, the NEPDG released its final report.[3]

Contents

Controversy

Most of the activities of the Energy Task Force have not been disclosed to the public, even though Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests (since 19 April 2001) have sought to gain access to its materials. The organisations Judicial Watch and Sierra Club launched a law suit (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia: Judicial Watch Inc. v. Department of Energy, et al., Civil Action No. 01-0981) under the FOIA to gain access to the task force's materials. After several years of legal wrangling, in May, 2005 an appeals court permitted the Energy Task Force's records to remain secret.[4][5]

On April 4, 2001, representatives of 13 environmental groups, including Erich Pica of Friends of the Earth and Anna Aurilio of the U.S. Public Interest Group, met with the Task Force (although not with Vice President Cheney personally). [6] Environmental groups have speculated that this meeting was an attempt to appease them, since it is reported that a draft paper had already been produced at the time of this meeting and that half of the meeting was spent on various members introducing themselves. No further meetings between the task force and the environmental groups were reported, although there had been at least 40 meetings between the task force and representatives of the energy industry and its interest groups [7]

The Washington Post reported on November 15, 2005 that it had obtained documents detailing how executives from major oil corporations, including Exxon-Mobil Corp., Conoco, Royal Dutch Shell Oil Corp., and the American subsidiary of British Petroleum met with Energy Task Force participants while they were developing national energy policy. Vice President Cheney was reported to have met personally with the Chief Executive Officer of BP (formerly British Petroleum) during the time of the Energy Task Force's activities. In the week prior to this article revealing oil executive involvement, the Chief Executives of Exxon-Mobil and ConocoPhillips told members of the US Senate that they had not participated as part of the Energy Task Force, while the CEO of British Petroleum stated that he did not know. Regardless of whether the executives were under oath, if these statements were knowingly and materially false and deceptive then they were illegal per the The Fraud and False Statements statute (18 U.S.C. 1001) [8]. In response to questions regarding the article, Cheney spokesperson Lea Ann McBride was quoted as saying that the courts have upheld "the constitutional right of the president and vice president to obtain information in confidentiality." [9]

On July 18, 2007, the Washington Post reported the names of those involved in the Task Force, including at least 40 meetings with interest groups, most of them from energy-producing industries. Among those in the meetings were James J. Rouse, then vice president of Exxon Mobil and a major donor to the Bush inauguration; Kenneth L. Lay, then head of Enron Corp.; Jack N. Gerard, then with the National Mining Association; Red Cavaney, president of the American Petroleum Institute; and Eli Bebout, an old friend of Cheney's from Wyoming who serves in the state Senate and owns an oil and drilling company.[7]

References

Sources

  • Dean, John W. (2004). Worse than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush. Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-00023-X.  

External links

From Judicial Watch:

Other Sources:

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